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Foothill League baseball: Vikes return to the routine

Lighter schedule helps Valencia turn loose against Saugus

Posted: May 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

The Valencia baseball team needed to get back in a routine.

Between tournaments and the Foothill League, the Vikings played a rapid-fire succession of games that head coach Jared Snyder said threw his team out of its groove.

This week was different, though, and it showed on Wednesday.

Led by third baseman Trey Williams’ 5-for-5 performance, Valencia pounded out 14 hits and starting pitcher Jake Roberge held Saugus in check for a 14-4 win on Wednesday at Valencia High School.

In April, the Vikings (17-6, 9-3) played in the Christian Brothers University Tournament in Tennessee, and they also played a weekend doubleheader against Dana Hills and a make-up game against West Ranch on a Tuesday.

This week, Valencia only had to focus on its regularly schedule meetings with Saugus.

“I think the routine is big for us,” Snyder said. “In high school, you don’t play that many games, and it showed. The kids could have gone in the tank today. I’m really proud of how they responded.”

Roberge pitched the last game against Saugus, a 17-13 win on April 1, and was pounded for five runs over 2 2/3 innings.

On Wednesday, the senior filled in for an injured Nick Rivas and pitched six innings — including a perfect start through 3 1/3 — with six strikeouts and four earned runs on five hits.

“I wanted to come out and show them it was a fluke,” Roberge said of his last outing against the Centurions. “They were not going to put up (five) runs in 2 2/3 innings. ... When your offense gets runs early, you settle down and just throw strikes, let the defense work behind you.”

That offense put up a lot of runs in hurry, scoring four in the first inning and three in each of the next two to build a quick 10-0 lead.

Second baseman Quincy Quintero’s RBI single to center field plated Williams to open the scoring in the first inning, and James Bonds’ fly ball to left field with the bases loaded was dropped, allowing three runs to cross the plate for a 4-0 lead.

Valencia racked up 26 at-bats through the first three innings.

In the past, the Centurions (9-14, 4-8) would have just chipped their way back into the game, said head coach John Maggiora, but not with the way Roberge was pitching Wednesday.

“It’s just a credit to the pitcher,” Maggiora said. “I’m very impressed with the guy. He didn’t let the three-run bomb get to him.”

That three-run bomb came off the bat of Justin Sheehan, the first hit Roberge allowed in the game.

Centurions Andru Cardenas and Nick Lombardi both walked with one out in the fourth before Sheehan drove the ball over the left-center field fence.

The Vikings responded in the bottom of the frame with two more runs, one of which came off a solo shot to center field by Williams.

The junior had two doubles, two stolen bases and scored five times in the game.

“We are just a team that battles,” Williams said.

Teammate A.J. Balta also had a big day, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a solo home run and a double. Brian Mundell and Shane Zeile each hit RBI singles in the sixth to push the lead to 14-3.

Lombardi hit an RBI double in the top of the seventh that cut the lead to 14-4.

Justin Donatella took the loss for Saugus, allowing seven runs — four earned — on five hits and three walks through 1 2/3 innings.

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